Eric Mertens

Copyright 2007-2018

Commission a Portrait

All the Daguerreotypes I create follow the 19th century hot mercury technique on a silver electroplated sheet of copper. Polished, buffed, coated over iodine and bromine fumes, exposed in camera, developed over mercury and finally gilded with gold chloride.

Daguerreotypes need a lot of light during the exposure because of how insensitive to light they are. For this reason I prefer to shoot portraits in my studio where the sunlight can be controlled to reduce exposure times down to a range of 10 to 50 seconds, depending on the day. Summer months from April through September are preferred.

A head brace is usually used to minimize movement during the exposure. This helps to keep the image nice and crisp when wanted. Two hours is usually the minimum amount of time I request for a scheduled appointment to photograph one person. Longer times are preferable to accommodate any unexpected issues or processing problems. This old photo technique is very finicky and presents challenges at almost every step.

The finished daguerreotype will be ready for you to take at conclusion of the sitting. It will be protected behind glass and sealed with Filmoplast P90 archival tape. I do not make any daguerreotype cases but i do make passé-partout mats to house them in as an option, at an additional cost.

The tintypes also follow the 19th century process as well but use modern anodized aluminum as 'tin' instead of a lacquered piece of metal. Salted collodion is pored over it, then it's dipped into a silver nitrate bath, exposed in camera, developed and varnished with gum sandarac.

Tintype emulsion speeds are much faster, in the five second range. Therefore winter months are also a possible shooting time.

No tintype commissions at this time 5x7 inch tintype portrait is $150.

No tintype commissions at this time 8x10 inch tintype is $250.

Quarter or half plate daguerreotype portrait commission is $700.

To schedule a portrait sitting or if you have any questions please contact me.